In 2014, a Harvard research team reported that Charlotte, North Carolina was 50th out of 50 of all large metropolitan cities in the probability that a child born into poverty could escape poverty as an adult. The Harvard team highlighted profound barriers to economic mobility in our community.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Leading on Opportunity Task Force prepared a report that calls attention to the growing body of research that documents the profound negative impact of chronic and toxic stress on child and adult health and well-being.  


  • Witnessing violence carries devastating impacts for children. Exposure to violence can alter infants' brain development, impairing cognitive and sensory growth.
  • School aged children suffer a higher incidence of anxiety and depression. They are more likely to experience learning difficulties, and less likely to establish positive peer relationships.
  • Teens are more likely to engage in high risk behaviors, including substance use and early sexual activity.
  • Most distressingly, witnessing domestic violence as a child is the single greatest predictor that a child will become a perpetrator or a victim as an adult.
Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that Leading on Opportunity highlights the importance of family stability, access to mental health services for children and adults, and early childhood development as foundational to economic mobility. 

The Family Justice Center model promises to deliver these outcomes for a highly vulnerable population victims of domestic and sexual violence, and child witnesses of domestic violence. Victims will quickly access crisis services. Equally important, victims can also access services to meet longer term needs for health and mental health services, giving both children and caregivers an opportunity to heal from the trauma experienced.

For additional information on efforts underway in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, please click the links below:
Goodwill Opportunity Campus 
Renaissance West  ‚Äč
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